There’s a lot to be said for tradition…
It’s such an important part of our culture and history. It gives us a sense of belonging, something to celebrate.
I for one am definitely celebrating at the moment as, you might not have even realised it, but something much more traditional is happening to the property market.
In fact, it’s becoming a bit more like the good old days. Young people buying their first homes, families moving up the property ladder, the older generation downsizing. It’s exactly what a property market should be like.
But as we all know, for a number of years now, it has been anything but a traditional story.
The housing market has been dominated by investors, the Buy to Let brigade who seized the opportunity offered by generous lenders to put their hard earned cash into bricks and mortar.
Even the financial collapse did little to dampen their enthusiasm, or indeed their return, as a sharp rise in rents in the face of falling house sales, coupled with low interest rates and generous tax breaks, still made the landlord king.
It looked like nothing could dethrone this army of new generation, property moguls and in 2015 their grip on power seemed unassailable as the Chancellor opened up another treasure chest, radically overhauling pension rules.
Could nothing stop this tidal wave of property based entrepreneurship?
Er yes, the Chancellor could – and that’s exactly what happened. Two years after the Government relaxed Stamp Duty charges it slapped an extra charge on the Buy to Let landlords and second home owners.
It suddenly dawned on the powers that be that first time buyers had more chance of spotting Lord Lucan with a red squirrel on his shoulder than owning their own home. Something had to change and it did, in dramatic style.
Many of the new generation of landlords couldn’t wait to get out and hordes of first time buyers gleefully leapt in to fill the void, their chance of home ownership further buoyed by the Government’s Help to Buy scheme.
Fast forward to now and I am delighted to say that here in Plymouth, the first timers are still beating a path to our door. There’s young dockyard apprentices and also naval ratings taking advantage of the force’s Help to Buy scheme. They have some real spending power too thanks, in part, to the new trend of the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’.
We are seeing first time purchases of anything between £150,000 and £300,000. Clearly home ownership isn’t the impossible dream it seemed just a couple of years ago. How times have changed, but I think you would be hard pushed to find someone who doesn’t think it’s a change for the better.
As for the landlords, well we have seen a good 75 per cent fall in that sector. That’s not surprising really, Not content with just a Stamp Duty hike, the Government pulled the plug on their tax relief too. Their time may come again. But right now let’s just enjoy the return to something a bit more traditional…after all, there’s a lot to be said for it.